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LONG CRISIS TO TEAR UKRAINE APART?
KIEV, November 28 (RIA Novosti) - True, yesterday's parliamentary statement opens a road to negotiations - yet it hardly offers a cure-all as the Ukrainian political crisis is getting worse.
The political statement the Supreme Rada (parliament) made in an emergency session, Saturday, qualifies the returns of last Sunday's presidential runoff as misrepresenting the nation's choice. Parliament expressed no confidence in the Central Election Commission, and calls to repeat the runoff.
From the legal point, the statement is pure recommendation. The final say-so is up to incumbent President Leonid Kuchma and the Supreme Court.
Victor Yuschenko's supporters stay in Kiev's streets, brandishing saffron-coloured flags and singing patriotic songs. The clergy is serving liturgies to big congregations for the self-proclaimed "people's president". Regional officials are taking oaths of allegiance to him, mainly in the country's west. Military officers speak to public rallies to vouch him support.
The diets of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the Crimea warn they will sternly demand autonomy and will stop paying taxes to the centre unless Victor Yanukovich is proclaimed president. Ukraine's industrial east has followed the National Salvation Committee with an appeal to set up a self-defence militia.
"Stop Ukraine's collapse!" opposition activist Anatoli Matvienko called parliament.
The split is occasionally taking an absurd turn. Thus, Kharkov, Ukraine's second-largest city, is siding with Yanukovich, while the area round it has rallied round Yuschenko. The Defence Ministry remains legally subordinate to incumbent Leonid Kuchma, while its song-and-dance company is performing for Yuschenko rallies in Kiev's central square.
Both camps are making impassioned oaths of loyalty to their country.
Street opinion probes follow one another. The few respondents who still hope for a peaceful outcome are apprehensive. They point out clashing parliamentary votes on key issues. The Rada would not have come to an accord yesterday if not for a third force coming up, they say.
The two presidential hopefuls met in conference at the Mariinsky Palace, Friday, international mediators attending. The two Victors-each claiming election victory-promised to meet at the negotiation table. They have been silent ever since.
The lengthy political crisis threatens to spread to the economic field and trigger off a chain reaction of the ruling circles disintegrating, warn parliamentarians and analysts.
"Ukraine came through dual power [in the Civil War of the early 20th century]. It will never survive a triple power," says parliament Speaker Vladimir Litvin.